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Coronavirus and Film/TV support

Dear all,

There's a lot of news on how to deal with coronavirus circulating. We want to alert you to some specific help for people in film/tv and cinema, particularly freelancers, or others on limited contract hours.

The Film and TV charity has an advice and support line that you can contact for advice, as well as support grants if you are experiencing significant financial difficulty.

Bectu have also written about how sick pay covers workers and what to do if you have any concerns.

Good wishes to everyone,

  • Thanks Cath, I was thinking of kicking off a thread on Covid-19 but was distrcted!

    Other issues I can see right now are that the FTSE100 has lost approaching 30% of value in the past month. That make investors look for safer havens than the stock market, or at least make film look less awful as a risk proposition by comparison. Of course it also means some investors will have lost 30% of their wealth and not be investing in anything.

    Shoots - everything is getting cancelled/postponed across many industries, maybe take this as a chance to get into animation or internal vfx scenes for projects?!

    Pretty much every person worldwide will be affected and lose someone they know to this. What kind of films will we want/need afterwards? Will people want horror films, or maybe different themes. After WW2, stories of real-life heroes were big - that could be an opportunity for UK filmmakers if they find good candidates. Superheroes aren't coming to rescue us, so perhaps real life heroes are going to come around again. Or maybe not - what do people speculate the public might want to see? There may be an opportunity here for when we emerge into the light and mourn our losses.

    Just a few thoughts we could explore.

    1 year ago
  • Good posts from Cath and Paddy. I think we can be pretty sure that this virus thing is going to get a lot worse before it's done.

    My wife and I are supposed to be in the vulnerable hospitalization or death section of society. So trying to isolate as much as we can. Had to go shopping today, went to two supermarkets and the chemists. The ignorant behaviour of the folk about tells its own story. People just don't get it. They're not doing enough to prevent cross infection, they don't understand that we're just days behind Italy and Spain. For that matter neither do the government or it's agencies.

    It's Not just the TV film and events industry. A whole bunch of people and structures that are vital links in the chain that's our current economic and infrastructural system are likely to be seriously compromised. We're facing an existential crisis that will reveal that the politically constructed artificialallity of our society has only a weak basis in the physical reality we actually depend on. When we've counted the dead and noted the tumbleweed blowing through great chunks of our vital infrastructures, we might finally wake up and start to do things better.

    I don't think that the banality of unreality in film will be badly affected. People enjoy the distraction. Where we ought to get a big boost though is dramatic, compelling and entertaining documentary that exposes and explains how we've allowed such a bunch of dickheads to take control of us and the wider and historical context that led to it. Gonna be a lot of issues to talk about afterwards and a lot of strident opinion holders having to eat their words.

    Don't we get it yet? For the next few weeks everybody should do everything they can to avoid unnecessary interaction with other people. The financial collateral damage is nothing by comparison. This not about saving performers, producers and venues, as tragic as that is. It's about saving lives through the process called flattening and elongating the hump in order to hugely help the NHS and carers cope and thereby save lives.

    Once this has died down there's going to be a lot to answer for. Trump is likely to lose to Bernie Sanders and this Tory government will see out its term as a pariah. War time like socio-economic measures will be required to prevent fundamental detriment to the country, a sort of Marshall plan and the writing off of several types of debt. Wouldn't be surprised to have a second Brexit referendum either. We're an utter disgrace of parochial ignoramuses.

    1 year ago
    • Your entertaining documentary comment reminded me of "Threads", John. Not that that was a documentary per se, but the topic of how fragile society is in the face of panic is presented as if in retrospect.

      If anyone wants to be absolutely haunted in a way horror films don't, "Threads" was a low budget BBC 2-parter in the 80's right when it was incredibly likely we were all going to die in a nuclear war (likely enough that the government had commissioned public information films and booklets to be delivered to the entire country). It is one of the hardest watches you'll have this year/decade still, it is relentlessly bleak, but sure enough of course society can fall apart quickly. Maybe in a different way with a different cause, but it should be sobering to watch for anyone, there's enough overlap.

      1 year ago
  • I think I do remember Threads Paddy. Wasn't it the one where a fractious couple found a deserted and uncontaminated valley in Wales? It didn't end well. The young woman had to leave in the only radiation suit, dragging its heavy, small wheeled umbilically connected survival trolly over difficult ground. We didn't get to see if she found another uncontaminated valley as the end credits rolled over. It seemed unlikely. Hope you all can find your own uncontaminated spaces to ride this thing out in. Bit of luck and it'll all be over, bar the fighting, in time for summer.

    1 year ago
    • Not that one John, TBH you'd probably remember Threads if you'd watched it, very much steeped in realism, no incidental music, no sci-fi elements. You can find it various places online or DVD now, but be warned it is somewhat harrowing and unflinching.

      1 year ago
  • If you rent, worthwhile brushing up on the rules. It seems that the standard 4 weeks notice by landlord in most agreements isn't worth a damn and now it should be 8 weeks notice, even if you decide to stop paying, (because food more important), and 6 months is possible if you play hard (though clearly, no reference will be forthcoming). But do check your own situation. SHELTER seem the go to people for this.

    1 year ago
  • Dear all

    Thanks to many of you who have also been DM’ing us on Twitter. We’re sharing a lot on our twitter feed, but here’s some other key resources that have recently come in:

    @EquityUK has published information on how to understand your rights and the different kinds of financial support available:

    Pact has put together latest Covid-19 advice from broadcasters regarding productions:

    Scottish Shooters
    Good resource for creatives in Scotland from

    NY SP’ers
    A solid list of free resources and financial relief options available for artists across all disciplines: covid19freelanceartistresource.wordpress...

    Keep an eye on our twitter feed too @ShootingPeople

    Thanks to all who are DMing/sharing with us.


    1 year ago
  • Additional resources for those experiencing financial difficulty:

    Equity Charitable Trust (Actors)

    Actors Benevolent Fund (pls note: they’re asking people to think carefully before applying, and to check first that you are eligible to apply)

    Help for Musicians (musicians + music related roles)

    1 year ago
  • Dear all,
    Pls consider adding your name to this letter, calling on the govt for a Temporary Income Protection Fund for #freelancers.

    1 year ago
  • Dear all, particular freelancers,

    ***Ensure Your Voice is Heard ***
    Pls share and add your name to the
    @Creative_Fed petition calling for an immediate temporary income protection fund for freelancers.

    The creative industries are taking a hammering. The numbers of people signing will really help the lobbying that's happening right now.


    1 year ago
  • Dear all, The BFI and The Film and TV Charity have teamed up to set up a new Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund with £1m donation from Netflix to help support the creative community - they're currently working through their eligibility criteria:

    1 year ago
  • Arts Council England have made £160 million available as financial support to individuals and organisations making up the cultural sector which might be applicable to you:

    1 year ago
  • Many of us in entertainment have limited companies in order to be able to contract - it's often a requirement in fact. The UK Government help packages as they stand offer us no help, unlike sole traders. Nobody appears to be thinking of us, but the FT have recorded a Q&A released this morning that addresses this topic and clarifies things - well worth a watch if you're bored.

    1 year ago
    • Hi Paddy, got an address or title we can look up?

      1 year ago
    • @Yen Rickeard Yen I'm so sorry I'm such a muppet!

      1 year ago
    • @Paddy Robinson-Griffin

      Directors UK are currently lobbying the govt directly for this. There focus is Directors, but will apply to all crew as well. More info here:

      It has quickly become clear that the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and Job Retention Scheme leave a large number of directors out of the picture. We have written again to the Chancellor to make the case for all directors, and to offer a constructive path forward. In the last week, we have also been in conversation with the Treasury, and we are working closely with BECTU, the Creative Industries Federation and the BFI among others, to lobby for freelancers.

      One group that are currently left without proper support are directors who operate as freelancers under Ltd/Personal Service Companies — which our latest survey shows accounts for 47% of our membership. We wrote to the Chancellor to make him aware of the situation, and to propose a solution. Our soundings with Treasury advisors indicate that the Government are concerned about how to identify the dividends that any self-employed person may pay themselves from their own company, separately from any other dividend income they might receive. After consulting with specialist advisors in our sector, we have made a proposal that would allow you to remit your dividend certificates to HMRC and for HMRC to review them, as part of their normal checking process. This would then mean that directors who are paid mostly by dividends from their own company could arguably be covered under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

      We also urged the Chancellor to create parity with employed workers by removing the £50,000 profits cut-off for the self-employed, which means that currently if your average profits over the past three years exceed £50,000 then you cannot claim any relief under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. We know from our survey that this cut-off would apply to a significant number of our members, faced with the prospect of months ahead without work. We clarified this issue in our letter to the Chancellor and argued that since the amount any individual can claim is already capped at £2,500 per month (as it is in the Job Retention Scheme), there is no need for an additional £50,000 cut off.

      1 year ago
    • @cath le couteur
      Thank you very much Cath and the team for this effort. The government have said that they are looking at the anomolies arising from their legislation and that it's an evolving situation. Hopefully some semblance of fairness will emerge. It's efforts like yours that ought to keep them decent, which is not the natural inclination of this government.

      What is revealed, even further than has been evident before the crisis, is the paucity of understanding and learning, of not just the government but Parliament itself, as to the entrenched laws of England, which are Constitutional and beyond statutory tinkering.

      Lots of issues are going to be tested later. The judges are sharpening their knives and preparing for the 'turf war' threatend by Johnson and his henchmen.

      As a great Appeal Court Judge said in recent times "The Crown is as much Sovereign in the Courts as it is Sovereign in Parliament"

      1 year ago
    • @cath le couteur Thanks for the update Cath. It's worth keeping an eye on that FT series in particular too for any members here, as they do a live Q&A weekly. :)

      1 year ago
  • For anyone who is in desperate need, Film & TV Charity grants are now open for application £500-£2500

    1 year ago
  • Hi everyone, make sure you take care of your mental health in this uncertain time. Producer and psychotherapist Rebecca Day collated some advice that might help you:

    1 year ago